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Gerrard opens up about ‘pretending’ to like rivals Ferdinand and Neville

Date Posted,June 6, 2017

Steven Gerrard turned out in Belfast on Monday night for the first of his fan events in the city.

The former England and Liverpool captain retired from football last year following a spell with LA Galaxy and has now taken up a coaching post with his old club, report Belfast Live.

Before the Kop legend even took to the stage, the sell-out crowd, many wearing the famous red jersey were singing the former captain’s name and led a rapturous rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

In a very open and honest question and answer session with LFCTV presenter Peter McDowall, Gerrard opened up about the incredible highs and the devastating lows of his football career with his boyhood club.

From the immense highs of lifting the Champions League trophy in 2005 after that famous comeback in Istanbul and that wonder strike against Olympiacos to that ‘slip up’ against Chelsea in 2014, the scouser took fans through a journey of his career in words, video and pictures.

Opening up about the early days and breaking through into the Liverpool first team at the tender age of just 18, Gerrard said he felt “physically sick” as he waited on the sidelines to come as a sub against Blackburn Rovers.

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Gerrard of Liverpool looks on during the friendly match against Sydney FC last month (Photo: Mark Metcalfe)

Having made more than 700 appearances for Liverpool and winning several trophies including two FA Cups, three league Cups and the Champions League, Gerrard spoke honestly about the hard times in his career.

Most notably the now infamous ‘slip up’ against Chelsea, which saw Liverpool loose their grip on their first ever Premier League title back in 2014.

Asked about the run-up to that game and the famous ‘We do not let this slip’ team talk after their victory over Manchester City, Gerrard said if he could rewind the clock to any moment in his life that would be it.

Looking back on the clip, Gerrard admitted if he had to do it over again he would have approached the situation more calmly, and taken a step back, but at that moment he said it was just “passion”.

Asked about the heartache that followed that slip up on the pitch against Chelsea, Gerrard said he found it hard to deal with.

He admitted that if that incident had of been a pass he’d played wrong or something he tried that didn’t work out or an own goal, he could have lived with it, but what happened that day was “just bad luck”.

He added: “It’s something I will spend the rest of my life trying to make up for.”

Asked about his relationship with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez Gerrard described it as “cold” saying there were times he thought Rafa “just didn’t like him”.

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But admitted that it was probably just down to the Spaniard’s management style and how it was in stark contrast to the “arm around the shoulder” he had been used to under Gerard Houllier.

Taking questions from the audience, Gerrard also opened up about his new friendship with once ‘enemy’ Rio Ferdinand.

Gerrard said: “When you’re lining up against in the tunnel against Rio and Gary Neville you want to do everything in your power to beat them, there’s hatred there, that’s exactly how it is.

World Cup 2006
World Cup 2006: Gerrard lines up with the England team, including Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville (Photo: Getty)

“When you meet up for England at that time, you pretend you like them, but your career finishes, their career finishes and your friendship starts for real.

“I’ve got nothing but respect for Rio as a player, played for a top club all his life, he’s a good fella as well, I’m enjoying the role at BT [Sport TV] with him as well.”

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Gerrard paused to think.

With the Belfast crowd shouting ‘legend’, ‘hero’ and ‘number one’ the Liverpool star said: “It’s not over yet, it’s definitely not over yet.

“It’s a difficult question, I just want to be remembered as a local lad who achieved his dream and basically gave the supporters everything I had in my body for success.”

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